Jesus declared, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile a man”, Matthew 15:18. Thus the necessity for every Believer to have a Christ-ruled heart.
The heart is the seat of all our emotions. It is often quoted, “Our emotions make great servants but bad masters!” If I am ruled by my emotions, I will live life on a roller -coaster experience. Emotions can also parade themselves wrongly as the the word of God. There is danger here when I allow my emotions to govern me, that their voice speaks louder than God’s voice and I convince myself, because of their strength, that it is God speaking, but I am deceived. Sensitivity to God’s Voice has to be developed, but we can use our failures as learning curves. No waste in God in the school of experience! Emotions are God given, but I need to choose to allow my heart to be Christ-ruled and not swayed by my feelings. Feelings are deceiving, our warrant is the Word of God, interpreted by the Holy Spirit.
Two infallible proofs of a Christ-ruled heart are joy and peace. These are not dependent on circumstances. I can experience them in the midst of adversity. How? It is all dependent on my believing. If I believe God is in control of my life, then I learn to trust Him to bring me through. Jesus slept peacefully in the boat when the storm was raging around Him. (Luke 8: 23-25). The disciples awakened Him fearing the worst. Jesus rebuked the storm and calm returned, challenging His disciples for their lack of faith. We would have been no different…..but we can learn from their experience. When life’s storms rage around us, the Master is in our boat. No storm can destroy Him. As I trust Him, His peace rules my heart as I refuse to be swayed by my emotions or circumstances. He is the God of my circumstances because His kingdom rules over all.
It is my responsibility, in choice, to be the gate-keeper of my heart. Colossians 3:15 instructs us: “And LET the peace of God rule in your hearts…..”
Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING…..” What am I believing? Will I trust God to be who He says He is, and do what only He can do?
Joy and peace are the result, the consequence, of right believing. If they are absent and I have drifted into negativism in any form, I need to ask myself what emotion I have allowed to rule my heart, to un-seat Christ’s rule there. The peace of God is not given just for me to enjoy as a “nice feeling” to make me comfortable, but is the enabling power of the indwelling Christ to live a Christ-controlled life.
When my emotions start to tremble, if I take note of the indicator, the ripple, I will not have to endure a storm! When I begin to lose my peace, I need to stop, consult the Holy Spirit, (my Guide), and see what the Lord is requiring of me. Keep short accounts with God. When I am in arrears with my daily walk and relationships, ignoring that ripple is akin to driving through the traffic lights at red! Chaos and confusion are the end result. God is not the author of either of these, I must take responsibility for my choices and abdicate self rule on the throne of my heart. When I allow my flesh life sway, my emotions to rule, my heart is out of order and Christ will not commit Himself there. He, in the form of His peace, is conspicuous by His absence.
Our Pattern Man, Jesus Christ, showed us the way. He always surrendered His will and chose the Father’s, giving Him pre-eminence. So it should be with us: “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”. God’s will is lived out and fulfilled in a surrendered vessel. Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and His peace have to be developed and learned by experience. When we learn to be sensitive to a stirring, developing sensitivity to that “still, small Voice” , we do not have to have the storm. Learn to abdicate from self-rule!
POEM: I ABDICATE (Anon.)
Lord, I have reigned supreme, a king upon a throne,
And I have thought my God-bought life to be my own,
And treading rough-shod over holy ground
I have possessed my soul, nor peace have found.
But here and now, I trust ’tis not too late,
In favour of Thy royal reign, I abdicate!
The crown of life I treasured, I now will lay aside,
The law of love I spurned, by it shall now abide,
The sceptre I have held in hard and selfish grasp,
I proffer Thee, ‘Tis all I ask
That Thou accept it, say, ” ‘Tis not too late”,
In favour of Thy reign , O God, – I abdicate!
Though it takes grace to reign in royal state,
It needs much more, much more, to abdicate!”